Reply To: Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shanghai

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There many interesting things to learn while in China, and one of them is the ancient art of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The art has existed for over several thousand years with various forms and traditions of practice. Knowledge is passed down from generation to generation within families, and its foundations are built upon the theory that the human body’s processes are interrelated and interconnected within, and are also in constant interaction with its environment. Disease and illnesses meant that the body is not in harmony with its surroundings. In Chinese, zhōngyī xué is literally translated to Chinese medicine study.

The modern TCM courses of today are already the compilation of various traditions. They have already been using standardized medical knowledge but still abide by the philosophical teachings of yin and yang, the five elements, the body’s meridian grid, the Zang fu organ theory and many more traditional foundations.

More and more research is being done on TCM and its benefits and the West has been picking up on this growing trend. The number of TCM centers in North America and Europe is steadily growing, spreading awareness and providing new options on alternative ways to keep healthy. In China TCM is not just an alternative, it is a fundamental part of the Chinese health care system.

Schools that teach TCM in China are abundant, and leading medical schools offer the course as well. There still are branches of TCM, the most promising of which are the Jingfang and the Wenbing schools. Jingfang is more ancient and base their knowledge on the Chinese medicine classics from the Han and Tang Dynasties. Wenbing relies on more modern texts such as the Compendium of Materia Medica from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Still, their foundations are ancient and both are widely practiced in China until today.

You can expect to get training on the theories and foundations of TCM, diagnosis, treatment, and other techniques that are related to the practice. There are schools that offer training to foreign students and hence, use English as the medium of instruction. You are also expected to do practical training and may receive a certificate or degree depending on the intensity of the course.

Professors are usually active practitioners as well. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been an integral part of the Chinese culture and history. By studying the art in China you can gain new perspectives and immerse yourself further in another foundation of the Chinese way of life.